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In what can only be described as a preemptive warning to Formula One fans, Pirelli told AUTOSPORT that they expect to see more 4-stop races in 2013:

“So we will probably have some races with four stops, which we have said we don’t want.

“We would have needed to change the hard compound to avoid that, but to do that we would need the agreement from all the teams and we know that is not going to happen.

“We can do it if asked, but [in the event of four stops], my message would be stick with us for a few races. We talk about averages and over the course of the season we are aiming for an average of two stops.”

It was clear by the blowback after the Spanish Grand Prix that most F1 fans were nonplussed by the 4-stop race and found it difficult to follow the race with over 80 pit stops in total.

Pirelli were keen to make minor changes to the 2013 tire compounds to tweak the performance and thus avoid the need for 4-stop races. It is, what most fans would consider, a prudent move and tweaking of a strategy they tried but missed the mark on. Slight changes to current F1 constructs could make the series better and the constructs themselves more effective but once the season starts, the stakes are so high that any changes will please some and upset others.

Such is the case with Lotus, Ferrari and Force India who were not happy to see any changes to the current tire specifications as they are performing better than their main rivals on these too-aggressive tires.

Perhaps Pirelli have learned that their part is to supply a degrading tire that doesn’t last more than half the race distance. As it is, it seems Pirelli adopted the role as a competitor in Formula One and tried to insert themselves in the races as more than just a supplier but a competitive element that is at odds with the teams and intent on engaging in a game of stump-the-chump.

Pirelli will now offer preemptive PR warnings to tamp fan displeasure over upcoming 4-stop races because no matter what was asked of them, inserting themselves in the competitive element so deeply as to try to outthink the team engineers is not a race or competition the fans want to see… they want fast cars fighting for championships and there is no points awarded for the tire company who outthinks and stymies the team engineers.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • MIE

    Well Spain was a four stop race and, if the UK has a summer, Britain may be a four stop race. So just to balance these two, there must be four one stop races (and so far we have had just Monaco), and that isn’t counting any three stop events. Either things aren’t that bad, or Pirelli are going to miss their ‘two stop average’ target.

  • dan

    Pirelli just supply what you feel is nessasary. If the teams complain, tell them to get stuffed. If they are all on the same tyre their should be no complaints.

  • UAN

    It’s really not the number of stops (though if the announcers are confused, the audience will be too – and the announcers are confused. They need a few of them NASCAR folks to get it all sorted out).

    The real issues is knowing from lap 1 that no one is really racing each other, but doing time trials on the tires they have and hoping it all adds up to the lowest time. There’s always been an element of conserving fuel and tires for later in the race, but Spain flipped the dial all the way to the other side. People prefer to see a race like Canada – a two stopper with everyone clearly pushing, with a few cars opting for a 1 stopper (ala DiResta) hoping to move up the grid.

    It’s one thing to play chicken with when the tires are going to hit the cliff. But it’s like the race starts with the tires already going off the cliff.

  • Rapierman

    Yanno, this problem might be solved if the fans start yelling at the teams demanding that they all agree to some extra testing per the FIA rules. He who shouts the loudest has the floor.